Star Wars: Battlefront fans who are sticklers when it comes to official lore can breathe a sigh of relief this morning. The upcoming story for EA's planned Star Wars: Battlefront reboot will be part of the official Star Wars canon, says Lucasfilm, but all prior games are no longer considered part of the Star Wars universe.
In a recent blog post, Lucasfilm explained that the ever-popular Expanded Universe for Star Wars, which provided the setting and characters for countless novels, comics and games, are no longer considered part of the canon. According to Lucasfilm the official canon now only consists of the six Star Wars films as well as the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series. The Star Wars: Battlefront 3 release, rumored for 2015, will be tied in to J.J. Abrams' new Star Wars film and be the first game to include characters and plotlines that can be considered part of the canon.
"While Lucasfilm always strived to keep the stories created for the expanded universe consistent with our film and television content as well as internally consistent, Lucas always made it clear that he was not beholden to the EU. He set the films he created as the canon," Lucasfilm said in the blog post. "Now, with an exciting future filled with new cinematic installments of Star Wars, all aspects of Star Wars storytelling moving forward will be connected."
This is great news. By including Star Wars: Battlefront 3 as part of the official canon Lucasfilm is essentially giving it a seal of approval. The Star Wars canon is something the company takes very seriously, so this renewed effort to keep everything connected and consistent means that the Star Wars: Battlefront reboot will include a story that needs to meet the standards set forth by Lucasfilm. Whether or not Lucasfilm will have their own staff working on the game wasn't made clear in the blog post, but at the very least we now know that the story needs to be consistent with what happens in the films. And, according to EA chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen, the Star Wars: Battlefront release is being scheduled around the new film's release.
"Star Wars: Battlefront will most likely come out around the same time the Star Wars movies start to come out, probably in the summer of '15," Jorgensen told investors last year. Since then, J.J. Abrams' new Star Wars film has been pushed to December 18, 2015, so fans should be anticipating a late November/early December release date for Star Wars: Battlefront.
Beyond the anticipated release date and the news it will now be part of the official canon, not much else is known about Star Wars: Battlefront 3. EA's games label exec Patrick Soderlund talked to Polygon about the progress of the game last summer after the E3 reveal. There was little in the way of details, but Soderlund emphasized DICE's commitment to doing right by fans.
"The most important thing for me is that we take the Star Wars license and come up with games where peoples' jaws drop," he said. "We need to do with this what [Batman: Arkham Asylum] did for the Batman license. It's going to take awhile. We just announced the license and showed a sneak peek of Hoth. The speeder and the AT-AT will be in [the game] for sure. We didn't toss anything out."
It's understandable, though, that fans might be worried that Star Wars: Battlefront 3 won't live up to the hype or, even worse, be plagued with the same launch issues we saw with Battlefield 4. However, DICE reps have been vocal about the fact that Star Wars: Battlefront 3 will be more than just sci-fi skin slapped on a modern military shooter.
"People don't want another Battlefield with Star Wars graphics; they want a Star Wars game that is proper," Battlefield 4's executive producer Patrick Bach told Videogamer.
For example, EA has confirmed that a third-person mode will be part of Star Wars: Battlefront 3 in order to make it more consistent with the other titles in the series. And the reboot won't receive the annualized treatment that many feel have stifled the FPS genre. In fact, EA's Frank Gibeau told CVG that the new plan for EA is to rotate between Titanfall, Star Wars: Battlefront and Battlefield games every year.